The end of summer vacation might bring groans from the students, but moms are rejoicing everywhere. Of course, the summer is great for fun in the sun, relaxing by the pool and memorable family vacations, but by the end of the season, there’s a big part of me that’s actually looking forward to the routine monotony that comes every Fall. January 1st technically marks the start of the New Year, but I feel that September is really the time for renewal and resolutions. So, I’ve decided to outline a few of mine in hopes that some of them might actually stick.
1) Put on the pounds: Ok, so this might sound a bit twisted but if you’re like me, you spent the better part of bathing suit season eating salads and spending any saved calories on alcohol. It’s inevitable that by Spring, I’ll become so disgusted with myself, I’ll no doubt buckle down on my bathing suit season prep, so in the meantime, it’ll be kind of nice to use the thick fabric of a sweater or an expertly tailored coat to hide those few extra pounds. After all, there’s a big bag of Halloween candy with my name on it.
2) Stay organized: I always save my Spring-cleaning for Summer – when the kids are at camp all day. By the end of August, my slate (or rather my desk) is now clean. Each September, moms get a chance to get ahead of the game. Set up new filing systems, swear to save only the most important school papers and projects, color code the calendar and run the household like clockwork. From the moment the alarm goes off, your day will be filled with the comforting predictability of daily rituals. Drop off, workout, meet a friend for lunch, run errands, drive carpool, make dinner, pack lunches, help with homework, put the kids to bed, watch good TV, kiss your hubby goodnight, rinse repeat….
3) Don’t sweat the small stuff: The start of a new school year is exciting but it’s also a bit scary for both students and their parents. New classmates, new teachers, and new curriculums…the unknown can be unsettling to say the least. Every year, I find myself worrying about a slew of things that are completely out of my control: the make-up of students in the class, the reputations of my kids’ teachers, the after school activities and private lessons my kids aren’t taking, etc. But by the end of the year, I look back at my neurotic tendencies and laugh. Sure, teachers and classmates can make or break any given school year but more often than not, it all works out fine. Besides, you can’t dwell on some hypothetical alternative path anyway!
4) Foster friendships: Maybe you belonged to a country club or rented a house in the Hamptons alongside your closest family friends, but chances are, it feels like it’s been awhile since you’ve seen your friends on a regular basis. Despite our complaining about it, the school year offers plenty of volunteer and social opportunities to reconnect with the community. Raising children really does take a village and getting involved, making plans, catching up and letting your friends know how important they are go a long way in establishing a happy and fulfilling life. Join a book club, take up a sport, play mah jongg, throw a party… With cable television and Internet shopping, it can be fairly easy to become a homebody. Put yourself out there so that doesn’t happen.
5) Be nice to you: This might mean re-reading #4 but it goes well beyond that. We might sneer at the helicopter mom phenomenon but chances are, we’re guilty of playing that role. The pressure to be the best, most hands-on and involved mom is intense and frankly, it can be exhausting. I’m not suggesting we let our kids run off Lord of the Flies style while we binge watch a show on Netflix, but the truth is, taking a step back and letting our kids figure out some things for themselves might actually be the best parenting move you could make. Let go of the guilt whether you’re a stay at home mom or a full-time working mom. A mom who is confident in her choices, no matter what those are, is the best role model for her children. Stop doing things out of obligation and learn to say no. Start saying yes to the things that make you genuinely happy – whether that’s finally starting your own business or getting a massage.
Happy New School Year!! 2015-2016 is going to be great!